Pipped at the post
For a team that have won its last 17 chases, 199 should never have been a challenging target. This week's Numbers Game said that, in their last 15 chases excluding the first match at Kingston, India have averaged 144, 110 and 298 runs per dismissal for the third, fourth and fifth wicket. Today the lack of a top-order partnership fatally dented India's victory hopes and West Indies made sure they levelled the series 1-1.
From a batting point of view, West Indies and India were uncannily similar. Both teams lost early wickets; both had fifth wicket partnerships of over fifty; both teams had top-scorers in the nineties - the only scores above 30. The following graphic depicts the over-by-over graphs for West Indies and India from the 26th over onwards.
At the end of 10 overs, West Indies were 22 for 2 and India 39 for 2. At the end of the 20th, West Indies 54 for 4 and India 70 for 4. Ramnaresh Sarwan's and Carlton Baugh's biffing enabled West Indies to score 71 runs off their last ten overs, an invaluable boost, considering that at the start of the 40th over their run-rate was 3.17. India too needed such an effort to win but they had lost seven wickets, one more than West Indies at this stage, and the pressure of the chase was telling.
Wickets falling at one end also prevented Yuvraj Singh from attacking like he usually does. India scored only 47 runs between overs 40 and 49 and needed 10 runs off the last five balls with one wicket in hand. Yuvraj Singh smashed two boundaries to reduce the equation to 2 off three balls. However, he was bowled off the next ball and Sabina Park exploded in celebration. The one-run victory proved that in terms of batting performances, there was virtually nothing in it as both teams performed way below par.
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo